Electronic Glasgow: 'We're a loose connection of promoters who want to celebrate Glasgow's history with electronic music'
- David Pollock
- 4 October 2019
We get the lowdown on the music collective and some of the DJs and nights coming up at their two-weekend October event
As tastes in electronic music have changed in recent years, the largest clubbing events in cities have tended towards single-location festivals with a number of big-name guests arriving for the weekend. Listed as ten days in duration, but really focused over two weekends in October, Electronic Glasgow isn't a festival – instead, it's a banner to lay over and draw attention to some of the existing club nights which already happen in the city.
'We're a loose connection of promoters who want to celebrate Glasgow's history with electronic music,' says Alan Gray, whose extensive adventures in promoting around Glasgow over the years include the regular Scottish leg of Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston's A Love from Outer Space (ALFOS) night, which will be returning to the Berkeley Suite for Electronic Glasgow. 'We're all going to be doing our own nights, but under the same banner, and maybe more promoters might want to come on board next year. We're not in any hurry to get anywhere or be any size, it's just a collective of people coming together to promote what they do.'
Confirmed so far is the appearance of Sweden's Dungeon Acid at Rost, for a Let's Go Back to Acid special with Let's Go Back DJ and promoter Bosco, and a Dungeon Acid showcase at Rub A Dub, as well as residents' nights for Music's Not for Everyone at Chinaski's and Shaka Loves You at the Amsterdam. There will also be workshops from hip hop producer Steg G and an as-yet-unannounced closing party in a secret location, as well as involvement from Made in Glasgow Recordings. At the moment, though, the ALFOS duo are the biggest names involved.
'We had the idea to do slower music in a club setting, and the sound has evolved over the period we've done it,' says Johnston, who started ALFOS (the night is named after an AR Kane track) with Weatherall in early 2010. 'It covers a lot of bases – Belgian new beat, disco, early house music, techno, a lot of influences are thrown into the mix. We generally start at about 100bpm and it's never been faster than 122bpm, but that still absolutely works for people on the dancefloor. We both came from what was known back in the day as the Balearic scene and Andrew was well-known for playing dub music; back in the '80s I'd been a fan of Adrian Sherwood and On-U Soundsystem, so that was the mutual touchpoint for us.'
Johnston and Weatherall had known each other for two decades when ALFOS began, and the former had been DJing around London since the late 1980s; in fact his former band, the Flash Fiction, released a record on Weatherall's Sabres of Paradise label in 1994. 'One day he was short of a lift to a gig in Brighton so I offered him one,' says Johnston of the club's beginnings. 'He asked what we had to listen to, and all I had was a CD I'd made for my own amusement – he listened to it, liked it, and we talked about potentially doing something. That ended up being a club in a space for 120 people under a pub (then known as the Drop, now named the Waiting Room) in Stoke Newington.
'We just asked a few of our friends along, but we were overtaken by the popularity of the thing pretty quickly,' he continues. 'I think it was right place, right music, right time.' By Christmas 2011, through Weatherall's friendship with Gray, the pair had a regular night in Glasgow which has endured ever since.
'Andrew's always been very popular in Glasgow, and when he does something people tend to sit up and take notice,' says Johnston of the sometime Primal Scream producer. 'We've built up a hardcore following in the city, and the enthusiasm of that core is infectious for anyone else that comes along. It's really special playing in Glasgow - it's not like playing anywhere else on Earth, and it's a privilege to have been taken to the heart of that scene.'
Electronic Glasgow 2019, various venues, Glasgow, Fri 11–Sun 20 Oct, facebook.com/electronicglasgow
The music collective host two weekends of live electronic music performances to celebrate the city's history with the genre, which will include appearances from Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston's A Love from Outer Space, Sweden's Dungeon, a Let's Go Back to Acid special with DJ and promoter Bosco, workshops with…